Health and Fitness  |  Diet & Nutrition

Healthy Diet = Success on the Track

Healthy eating habits can and should be at the foreground of everyone’s lives, helping everyone feel better, live longer and perform better in all their daily activities. Eating for peak athletic performance can be confusing to some, but it doesn’t have to be.
Have you heard the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out” applied to nutrition? It really is true: eating healthy foods definitely impacts your energy level. The nutritional demands of longer-duration sports activities are different than those of shorter sports lasting an hour or less.

Imagine for a minute that you are sitting in the driver’s seat at a She Racing event or are about to begin a race in your (very) FAST car! You’re feeling a little nervous before the race begins. You’ve also got that adrenaline going too, which makes you feel excited, energetic and anxious for the race to start. Once the race begins, your hands grip the steering wheel as you focus your entire attention on all the elements of the race. Your core tightens and your arm muscles tighten and flex as you round a particularly sharp corner. Sweat beads on your forehead due to both the energy you’re expending and the heat generated by the heavy racing suit you’re wearing.

Beginning to get the picture? Racing a car is a very athletic event, and as such the nutritional demands are big. You need to fuel your body just like you fuel your car.

But how to do that?

-Eat a blend of carbohydrates, good fats, and protein every three to four hours
-Eat a healthy breakfast EVERY DAY, NO EXCEPTIONS
-Drink lots of water
-Limit alcohol consumption
-Strength train to build muscle

Carbohydrates give us energy, plain and simple. Eating the right amount of carbohydrates (with good fats and protein) is key. If you eat too many carbohydrates, they are stored as fat. If you don’t exercise, you gain weight. Eating the right kinds of carbohydrates will help the body work like a machine, turning food into fuel and energy quicker and more efficiently. The right kinds of carbs include fruits and whole grains like whole wheat bread, quinoa and Kashi Go Lean cereal.

Good fats include avocado, chickpeas (hummus), salmon and other fatty fish, nuts and nut butters, and edamame.

Proteins should be lean choices, like chicken and fish, and limited amounts of lean beef.

Eating a healthy breakfast every day starts the building blocks of the day with the right blend of foods to give us optimum energy to get through the demands of the day. Try that Kashi Go Lean with non-fat milk or yogurt and fresh fruit, for example.

Water helps our brain function properly, hydrates our muscles and keeps our systems function regularly, and you should drink around 8 sixteen ounce glasses of water a day.

Alcohol is a drug, dehydrates you and slows your system down, both of which are bad combinations behind the wheel. Besides those potentially dangerous side effects, it also adds empty calories and inhibits your judgement to make good choices.

Strength training builds muscle, which helps our body do all the things we want it to do, and also builds bone density, both of which decrease as we age and both of which we need to be at our best as an athlete. So make sure you work out!

You may be only be on track for a total of one to two hours on a given week, but think about all those other hours in the week and how important it is to do everything you can during that week to prepare for those two hours—eat right, exercise and get plenty of sleep. And then you’ll be ready to get behind that wheel!

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